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Download of the Week: Tails OS

By Erik · 39 replies
Apr 30, 2014
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  1. Tails received a lot of press a couple of weeks ago when it was disclosed that Edward Snowden was using it to avoid NSA snooping. This portable operating system's sole purpose is preserving your privacy and anonymity online by relying on the...

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  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,169   +2,609

    Paranoia is contagious.
    m4a4 and MilwaukeeMike like this.
  3. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,481   +975

  4. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,106   +1,382

    Why is it called Tails? Isn't 'tail' a euphemism for someone who's following you or watching you? Is it some sort of ironic joke, or is there something more we should know?

    Reminds me of the Bingo/Casino place in my town. They used to have this giant Bingo Ball over their entrance way, it was their mascot. The bingo ball had arms and a face and looked really happy. But right on his chest was a big B13. Why they chose B13 for his number, I don't know, but 13 is historically an unlucky number, and if I were superstitious I'd have avoided walking under a B13 (Be Unlucky) mascot before gambling.
    davislane1 likes this.
  5. TheDreams

    TheDreams TS Evangelist Posts: 629   +68

    If you are hard-wired, lets say at a school. They can still see what you are doing, correct?
  6. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,167   +3,474

    Thyat depends on where you're posting from. The Chinese believe quite the opposite, and "13", is almost the luckiest number ever..!

    To be a bit less optimistic, the Chinese have adopted the western tradition that 13 is unlucky.

    Just be thankful you're not Chinese, and the bingo ball was number, "B-4", which would have symbolized someone's imminent demise.

    I'm not really superstitious, but I couldn't win at Bingo, if there were only 2 people in the room. (Not counting the caller, of course).
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  7. Seeing as everyone now has a completely rational basis for assuming their activity is being monitored, this can't possibly be a case of paranoia run amok. The growing popularity of sophisticated privacy technology is, in reality, further evidence of a highly contagious strain of unjustified self-importance that is rapidly approaching pandemic-level infection rates. In layman's terms, unmitigated self-delusion is the new "thing".
  8. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,169   +2,609

    To my knowledge, the Chinese luckiest number is 888.
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,026   +4,749

    Buy a dozen and get one free. Nah, I don't call that unlucky.
  10. bexwhitt

    bexwhitt TS Guru Posts: 394   +99

    Anybody who taps into my web use will have a rather dull read.
  11. Assuming the high level of surveillance, paranoid or not, you're being watched.
  12. TheBigFatClown

    TheBigFatClown TS Evangelist Posts: 729   +267

    I would accuse you of being a troll for your outrageous comments and I would probably be right but since trolls let me state my position on the matter it's all good either way. You sound like you are talking about vaccines more than you are the issue of privacy. Your layman terms are still way over the top but I am sure you at least tried to come down to every other persons level reading this forum. So thank you for that.
    The NSA is spying on EVERYBODY. It's not self-delusion. It's more like, "none of your ******* business whether I am at the ice cream parlor eating an ice-cream cone or at the park feeding ducks or some other harmless place. Bottom line is, that it's "none of yours or NSA or anybody else's ******* business", unless I want it to be someone elses business. The self-delusional are the people who think I give a damn everytime they cut a fart on facebook. Not the ones seeking a basic level of privacy in their lives.
    Erik likes this.
  13. Am I really having this much trouble communicating today? This is the second time someone has failed to understand the meaning of my comments. Very well. Please open your notebook and follow along with the presentation.

    Chapter 1: Comments - What was said anyways?

    You are half correct. Yes, I was trolling; but the social commentary I placed under the bridge was apparently not as clearly marked or entertaining as I had hoped. Unfortunately, not all of us are as predisposed to dishing out ridicule and political commentary as @captaincranky.

    Indeed (emphasis added):

    I see nothing wrong with this view. In fact, I agree. This is specifically why I qualified the level of privacy technology I was making a jab at (emphasis added):

    I was using the following rhetorical formula: [unnecessarily verbose sentence] + [succinct sentence of identical meaning]. There's a technical description for this technique but the appropriate term escapes me at the moment.

    Chapter 2: Context - Why situation matters

    The article to which this thread is attached concerns privacy technology that leaves absolutely no footprint. Meaning, (theoretically), applicable agencies cannot eavesdrop on your Internet activity nor tell that you ever used a machine, if they so happened to come into acquisition of said machine. If you use Tails, you become a ghost (I use this term very loosely).

    While we are all very well aware of the NSA et al. running around and tracking everybody, they have neither the resources nor the capacity (at present) to do deep surveillance on over 300million people. Simply put, most people are not important enough for the NSA to extend their tentacles so far into their lives as to make such a (sophisticated) technology necessary for privacy; basic privacy technologies would reasonably suffice.

    So, back to my original comment.

    While my comment appears to have failed its original purpose, it does not ridicule people who use basic privacy technologies. This would be ironic considering that I use these very technologies. Rather, it ridicules people who think the NSA is scrutinizing their activity (looking beyond the surface). Simply put, the average joe is not that important. Therefore, anyone who thinks they need to use "maximum protection" is likely delusional....or paranoid, as @VitalyT suggested.

    Chapter 3: Questions and Ponderings - To proxy or not to proxy?

    Given all of the above, where have I erred in my judgement? What article on the global spy industry did I miss detailing the NSA's deep surveillance program (I.e. monitoring and documenting everybody's file systems)? At what point did I cross a line and go "way over the top"? And, for that matter, who drew it (and will it move if I ignore it)?

    More importantly, have I sufficiently occupied the underbelly of the bridge?
    RenGood08 and MilwaukeeMike like this.
  14. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,411   +368

    Pshhh, what a load of sh.... Wait... What was that? Oh god, they found me!
    RenGood08 and davislane1 like this.
  15. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,106   +1,382

    This. From what I've read, the average complainer about the NSA seems to think a) they are important enough for the NSA to target, which they're not, and b) that the NSA would actually do anything if they read something you think is bad, which they won't.
    The only victims of surveillance in this country who have experienced a consequence from it, are ones who've opposed Obama politically. That's who we should worry about, and even then, 99.9999% of us aren't important enough for anyone to care.
  16. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,026   +4,749

    The seeds of the future! At what point will you think potential problems will be worth complaining about? I would prefer to kill a weed as it sprouts, instead of waiting for it to spread through out the garden. Unfortunately for all of us we were all born in the midst of regulations worth complaining about. Sadly though some don't think complaining will do any good and find it annoying, as if we are to live peacefully in our misery.
  17. Not at all. The problem is that complaining and protesting is all anyone ever does anymore. It's annoying because its being backed up by nothing. Specifically, the country as a whole – the people – has been balkanizing over the past 6-8 years. It would seem that we are being divided across more and more vivid lines with each passing day. At the same time, the governing bodies and "powers that be" have largely ceased to change. If anything, they've consolidated. Even so, each time an election rolls around we all elect (directly and indirectly) the same people running the same sales pitch from the last cycle. Then, when it works out the same way, we complain and protest, rinse, repeat.

    So it's not annoying because anyone should be content with the present state of affairs. It's annoying because an onslaught of pyrrhic victories – such as rising use of privacy software and services – achieves little beyond giving the protestors and complainers a psychological bone to chew on. It's like making a big deal about saving the coffee table while the rest of the house is burning down around you. More powerfully...It's like a bunch of rights activists (see above) telling us they've the right to privacy while stressing the need for services like Tor.
    RenGood08 and MilwaukeeMike like this.
  18. Well said !!
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,167   +3,474

    Yeah but......., the Forbidden City has 9999 rooms. http://www.beijingattractions.org/Beijing-Heritage/Forbidden-City.html

    Besides, "7", is the luckiest number in the US, whereas "8" is obviously not. Just ask Steve Ballmer if you don't believe me....:D(n)

    Here, now you've earned a "hat trick" of posts saying "well said".
  20. VERY impressed by that XP skin (from image) But of course that is sadly out of date - you're going to look funny with the only XP box when everyone else is Win 7...
  21. Just so everyone knows all data is encrypted through tor so while an organization such as a school could monitor your traffic they would be unable to see what that traffic contained.
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,167   +3,474

    OK, all I have to say is this, "the size of porn downloads is evolving rapidly". So, if you're going to install this OS on a USB drive, I think that 32GB should be a bare minimum.

    (OK boys and girls, can you spot the intentional bad pun in that post)?
  23. This portable operating system's sole purpose is preserving your privacy and anonymity online by relying on the Tor network and other tools to keep your activity secret.


    Best joke ever.
  24. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,283

    Speaking of a bingo callers I recently lost my job as one. Apparently "a meal for two with a hairy view" is no way to call 69 or so I was told in no uncertain terms. :D
    captaincranky, cartera and RenGood08 like this.
  25. TheBigFatClown

    TheBigFatClown TS Evangelist Posts: 729   +267

    Your very well spoken which makes you appear very intelligent which I am sure you are. But under the beautifully crafted semantics I still have a problem with what you are saying. Because you speak on such an abstract level I have to try and interpret what you are saying. It sounds like what you are saying is that the 'layman' who uses Tor is a self-delusional narcissist if he chooses to use Tor for privacy sake alone. That's the suggestion that I have a problem with. It's not about how important all of us bricks in the wall 'think' we are. Whether we are 'important' or not is not the issue. It's not about the fact that the NSA doesn't have the time or resources to monitor 'everybody's email. Your justifying unethical actions because you can't see any imminent dangers. If you think thats the smartest way to approach the matter then we simply disagree.

    And you have completely disregarded the most recent scandal which involves the IRS targeting conservative groups by using a compilation of 'harmless data' that relates to 'harmless people'. Shouldn't we simply assume that if a politician has the power to abuse something that they will? Wouldn't that save us all a lot of time? Isn't that the very reason that the founders of the constitution tried their best to implement a system of checks and balances?

    Meta data on 1 'self-delusional' brick isn't of much use to anybody. Meta data on a million bricks can help swing elections in either direction if exploited. But these are just my 'unimportant' opinions. I could be wrong.
    Last edited: May 1, 2014

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